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Tools – La Gourmandista

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Categoría: Tools

Pressure or Slow Cooker?

Back in the day, and I mean in Ancient Times, guys, beans were prepared calmly at home. Firstly, we would clean them from impurities like pebbles or broken grains. Then, we would wash them, and lastly we would soak them overnight before being able to cook them. At home, we would prepare them using the pressure cooker. In more modern days, a cousin of mine talked to me about a slow cooker; the Crock Pot. She would say it was safer because there was no risk of it blowing up. Because let us be honest; raise your hand if you NEVER heard the story about a neighbor or friend who would’ve had their pressure cooker blow up and that their kitchen had ended up in a real mess. However, I remember thinking it would not be safe to leave it on for 8 hours or overnight. One of the first rules I learned was to never leave anything unattended in the kitchen. Anyway…

Then, it was around 2000 when it was my turn to furnish my kitchen. In my list I had the pressure cooker. Honestly, I didn’t even consider the slow cooker. Therefore, I made sure it was the safest one I could acquire, even when it weren’t the most expensive one. Because, yes, the pressure cooker did explode once in my own home as a kid. Now, the one I chose made me comfortable. The brand I chose, Presto. It’s still in perfect conditions and I still use it from time to time. Hey, I even remember who was kind enough to give it to me as a gift.

Now, Crock Pot was never something I considered having. My mother would always talk about the benefits of cooking with the pressure cooker and its time-saving feature, and even when I went to culinary arts school, my secret love affair with the pressure cooker was always present. As soon as I had the chance to use it once more, I did.

Then, we moved to the U.S. and everyone around here was talking about the most recent invention for the kitchen: The Instant Pot. I saw it and I honestly didn’t pay much attention I assumed it was the evolution of the pressure cooker and that instead of putting it on the fire, one would plug it to the electricity and program it with specific cooking times and that was it.

But to my surprise, one of these multi-cookers ended up in my hands and it conquered me. Coincidentally, I got it as a gift once more, and since it was already in my kitchen, I started playing with it. It wasn’t the famous Instant brand, but one named Fagor (now Zavor). The model was an 8-Qt. Lux Multi-Cooker. A complete stranger for me up to this point. But my dear friends, if you are among those people who like to do stuff without having to pay attention at all times, then this is your best choice. It’s got settings to quickly pressure cook (high and low), slow cook, rice cooking, yogurt fermentation… It’s really useful, honestly.

There are plenty of brands available. As a matter of fact, after a little bit of research I learned about the global offer. In France, for example, there’s Cookéo by Moulinex and they have a wi-fi connected version. Then, in the USA we find the most popular one, Instant Pot, which I understand also offers a connected model that communicates with an app to your phone. And then, the one I got, the Lux. By the way, America’s Test Kitchen ranked it as the best in the American market.

Evidently, there are many other brands in the market, but what I am sharing here is what I kept in my mind. At home, I have been using it regularly. Frequently, I prepare everything I don’t want to be looking after at all times such as vegetable or chicken stock, rice, farro, and obviously, beans, chickpeas, and lentils.

Well, there you have it, guys. I confess this is a tool one can avoid having and will not need, but if you are a cook who likes homemade foods but don’t want to mind the stove, then, this is the BEST option for you.

My Rosie v. 2.0

Back in February of 2014, when this blog was mainly about life and little about cooking, I wrote about my lifetime acquisition. Some of you might remember it, for those who don’t, here’s a bit of my love story with my dear cooking robot. Now, as I see the dates, I realize that it took me quite some time to write about her, since my Rosie TM 31 model had already been at home for at least 6 months.

Unfortunately, when we moved back to Mexico, we had to make some tough decisions at home, and we thought it would be better to sell it and buy another one whenever we would be established in the country we would settle in time. The voltage change for this kind of machine… well, we thought it wouldn’t be convenient, even when you can read in that old text that some of the people I know still use it with a voltage converter, and yes, both ladies in the story are still enjoying their Thermomix and they might be already considered of a certain age.

In 2018, already in the U.S., I came across two consultants of the brand at an event the three of us were there to get new clientele, though none had such luck. One of them stayed in touch for a few months, but stopped contacting me when I suggested I would not get the robot for the time-being. And even though I really wanted it, I knew it would be better to wait for the new model. The model marketed in that moment here was already a newer one than the one I had had in France, but it wasn’t the one I was expecting, at least not for now.

And it was not for nothing, for my consultant in France, with whom I have stayed in touch, had already revealed to me that the new model would be here soon in my new country of residence, and even when it would be a bit pricier, it would be top-notch, I mean it would become techie and all. So, since I love gadgets, and it’s no secret, I knew I had to wait. Let us now fast forward to the Spring of 2020, when we were all cooking 24/7. I was having quite some fun preparing new stuff and testing new recipes. I didn’t even remember the appliance I had fallen for in Paris. But my friend Cynthia, a very close friend with whom I talk all the time brought it to the table. She acquired it because she wanted , like everyone, to put food on the table more easily, and faster for her and her husband, since like many of us, she was juggling between breakfast, lunch, and dinner while working from home to run her business. And after a long conversation about it on what became our weekly Zoom call, it was at that moment when I began looking for the best option. Should I buy it here or in Mexico? I decided it would be better to get locally with one of the 2 consultants I had already met. It was only afterwards that I learned that warranties are local. So, point for me.

The toy arrived and OHHH MY GOOOOD! It was even better than what I remembered. And let me tell you why, the thingie is now connected to the Internet, it has a bluetooth, a portal on my computer to plan menus, an app I can manage on my phone, as well as a recipe database that allows me to experiment with cuisines I was only able to try by going to a restaurant. I need to be honest saying I already knew this was the only home appliance vouched by accoladed chefs everywhere in both their home kitchens and in their restaurants, plus it came with a number of settings that allowed the machine to do so much more than what my beloved Rosie T31 had been able to in my small Parisian kitchen.

So, in this first “post” for the “tool of the month” I have to say that the Thermomix TM6 rules big time. Call it what you want, but, my message today is that if you want as least appliances as possible in your kitchen, this is the one that will help you achieve more with less. And yes, I know it’s pricey, but, if you use it, let’s say 3 times a week, it’s well worth it. And this is without it’s newest pal, the Thermomix Friend. I can’t wait for it to get to the U.S. market and be able to try it!

What is the best kitchen robot on the market?

A few months ago I decided I would buy a cooking robot, but it wasn’t just any cooking robot. It was actually the one I had gotten to know in my childhood at my friend Marian’s house. Her mom had brought it to Mexico from Spain. I remember she would always say her robot did every marvel one could imagine. Then, about 20 years later another friend who had recently moved from Spain to Mexico with her family took the same marvel with her. I had recently divorced and therefore my finances were not at the point of being able to give myself such a luxury, plus I had everything one could have in the kitchen at home. So, I forgot about it. Now, I’m in France, and given the voltage change as well as the fact that we decided to come just with the essentials, I have cooked for months with almost no home appliances until the little piece of equipment came into my thoughts.

I looked here and there, or what is the same, went online and made a little bit of research regarding cooking robots. Voilà ! The decision had been made. My friends in Mexico were right, the best one was the German tool manufactured in France. You could do everything in this thing… soupes, main courses, sweet stuff, I mean, truly EVERYTHING!

After saving up a little, we bought it and yes, while there was a “before” in my kitchen before my beloved Robotina (Rosie in English, yes, just like the cleaning robot from The Jetsons). I make ice-cream, spreads, stew, and even my Mexican tamales. And just like my mom used to say back in the day when she taught me how to prepare her famous Apple Strudel, there’s nothing better but to know how make the most and know all the little tricks that can be of help when using your appliances. So, I’m getting to it.